Sue Takamoto

THE TAKAMETER

 

blog posts from Eric & Sue Takamoto

Kansai Team Ministry Report - 05

Here is a fun and encouraging report from the team in the Kansai church planting network near Osaka, Japan made a few years ago.

Posted by Sue Takamoto

We wanted to send out a brief update to let you know that we are all okay in the midst of the 8.8 earthquake that has hit the east coast of Japan.  Our mission has been gathered since yesterday in the Nagano mountains, about 200 miles from the epicenter, for our annual retreat.  There are six members from our church in Washington D.C., Fourth Presbyterian, who are here with us as well to minister to our children during this time.  We have been very thankful for their presence and stability to our children during this scary time.  

Even as far away as we are, the earthquake was scary and lasted a long time.  We were all put into one room for an hour or two while the retreat staff checked for gas leaks and other earthquake concerns.  We are fine here now, but our hearts are grieving from the news that has been coming in.

Many of you remember that Eric and I first worked together from 2001-2003 in Sendai, which is the epicenter of the earthquake.  We were able to call one of our closest friends, Kazue H., and are incredibly thankful that we reached her cell phone since other phone calls have since been hard.  Their home is very close to the coast.  She and her family were able to get to her mother's home, much farther inland, before the tsunami hit.  But they are sure that their home is gone (the name of the small village is Arahama- one of the terrible videos on the news of houses, roads, and fields being washed away is Arahama).  She has not been able to contact our other friends from our church there, L'Abri Bible Chuch.  The church and our neighborhood are less than 2 miles from the coast, so we are just too sad as we imagine the possible devastation.  We are sure, though, that God will use the faith of these believers to reach out to the hurting in the community.

God's timing is strange.  Last Saturday Eric and I attended an all-day training to help Christians in Japan be prepared to respond in case of earthquake.  Eric was supposed to teach English that day, but we felt this training was really important for us to attend.  We both sense that it is likely that Eric will go and be part of relief efforts.  How thankful we are for God's timing in preparing us to be able to more practically help..  We will pray and wait to see how God may use our family, our mission, and the Church to bring much-needed relief as the days unfold.  Our prayer is that God will quickly move and unite the Church to reach out during this terrible tragedy.  The news that we are hearing is that it may be the worst earthquake in the history of Japan.  

We also believe that God has our mission gathered at this time for His purposes.  Pray that God will give us wisdom and allow us to be strategic in what will be challenging days ahead.  We do pray that the God of Psalm 46 will bring hope to those who right now are buried in tragedy.  

Thanks for your prayers and your concern.  We will continue to bring you news as we can from in-country.  It is hard to know how to pray, but we believe that the Spirit intercedes for us when words do not come.   Earlier tonight we prayed Psalm 46;  we have prayed for mercy, for miracles, for accounts of Japanese whose eyes are opened to the realities of His love even in the midst of this.

With love,

Eric and Sue Takamoto

by Sue Takamoto

Thanking 

Thank you for the outpouring of love and concern for our family during this past week. First, be assured that we are all fine. All of our Asian Access family are safe from harm. We have received word that all members of our Sendai church, as well, are safe, though our dear friend Kazue lost her home in the Arahama tsunami. (Perhaps you saw some pictures of this town on the news.)

Weeping 

The past seven days have been some of the most intense that we have known. Our hearts have wept at the destruction and pain of the people we love so much. Hearing numbers doesn't affect us as much as seeing one person on the news who is completely desolate, or talking to a friend on the phone who has experienced such loss. I'm sure many of you feel like this.

Giving 

Many have written and asked how to give. We recommend either Asian Access’ relief fund that has been set up specifically to provide resources to our church partners and other agencies doing relief (to give to Asian Access, mark checks for Japan Tsunami Relief Fund and send to Asian Access, PO Box 20, San Dimas, CA 91773), or to give to CRASH/Japan.  There are other great organizations as well; these are the two that we know the best. Read this short list of recommended organizations for more donation options.

Preparing 

As many of you know, Eric and three of our missionary friends are on their way up to the Sendai area. The three of them have been asked to set up one of four or five base camps over the next two weeks in one of the hardest-hit areas. They will be able to survey the needs, the gaps, and hopefully prepare for many teams to come in and do relief work. Asian Access has linked with CRASH/Japan, a non-profit organization started by a missionary that has become the largest Christian coordinating agency during this tragedy. We shared previously that six days before the earthquake and tsunami, seven of us from Sanda (Osaka) with Asian Access attended the all-day training in order to be ready in case there was a disaster.  We marvel at God’s timing.

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Sending

We have only had twenty-four hours to prepare Eric and the crew for this trip, and have been touched by the many from our local community who brought over needed supplies. 

Group shot before the four guys leave Osaka to head north.

The team left Osaka to go to Tokyo and stay overnight before heading to set up a base camp. 

Putting tarp over the truck bed.

You can follow our blog or find both of us on Facebook for photos and more detailed information – I am posting often so that you, our family and friends further away, can be more aware of what is going on and how to pray. 

Praying

Many have expressed concern about the problems being created by the nuclear reactors leaking. We of course are concerned as well, and thankful that CRASH and Asian Access continue monitoring the situation. It is possible that their base campsite will be changed if the situation worsens. We will keep you posted, but of course covet your prayers.

  • Pray with us that God would stop the leak – He can do this!
  • Our hearts ache for the many who need relief who can’t get it because they are too close to the reactors.
  • Pray for safety as they drive; for enough gasoline to make it up to the site (one friend on the return home said he had to stop at every rest stop to get enough to return).
  • For God’s clear leading about where they should set up the base camp;
  • For God to keep them safe and give them many divine encounters as they serve those who are hurting.
  • As we become aware of other ways that needs can be met, we will let you know.
  • One other way to pray – shortly after Eric started driving, I started to feel really crummy. Tonight, three of the four kids and I are home with fevers and chills.  (You go Olivia!  She’s still bouncing!) I am thankful that the fever held off until I could help get the guys sent off, but I do need healing so that I can care for our children.  

With thankfulness for your partnership,

Sue Takamoto (for Eric, too) 


Quick Update 

The guys made it to Tokyo - yeah!  They are unloading the truck and reloading gear for tomorrow morning. They had just had a briefing at the Tokyo CRASH headquarters assigning them to go to Ibaraki prefecture (the most southern part of earthquake/tsunami zone) and work on setting up a base camp.

Five minutes later, the director came in and said that Samaritan's Purse is flying in 90 tons (NINE ZERO WOW) of supplies and they are going to land at Sendai's airport. (If you saw footage of the airport you know it's a miracle that anything could land there!  The government apparently has cleared off enough of the landing strips for rescue vehicles to land). They need "all hands on deck"... and would like our guys to first go up to Sendai and unload the cargo so that it can quickly be distributed to those who need it. 

First thing in Saturday morning I need to call our Sanda truck rental and see if we can extend the contract by two days - pray that they are willing.  There is a shortage of trucks and this would be a big help.  As Eric just said, all of these plans are in the hands of Jesus and they are just listening minute by minute, knowing that anything could change by the morning.  Check our blog/Facebook for updates.

Editor's Note: Sue Takamoto's husband, Eric and two other Asian Access missionaries Peter Thomson and Kent Muhling have gone up to the Sendai area to bring supplies and assess the situation. This is one of the earlier updates posted by Sue on March 21.

I wanted to make a few quick posts for those of you who check and pray.  I’ve talked with Eric a few times today.  One disclaimer – I am trying to get the facts straight but they come via cell phone and often many hours before I post, so if there are occasional errors I apologize.  And I’ll try and correct them later if I find out!  Also, we are fine with anyone reposting this information to share what is going on.

Today Eric and his team headed up the coast to the ravaged town of Ishinomaki. Yesterday, some of their team had been there and captured footage of the grandmother and grandson being pulled out alive from their home. The first shelter that they came to turned out to be a gym in which families could come and claim bodies;  it was a hard stop to make.  After that, they were able to find two churches in the area still standing, and the pastors and families were so thrilled to see the team and receive supplies.  They also stumbled upon a kindergarten nearby that was in need.  As they were driving away they only had some boxes of water bottles left, and wondered what to do with them.  They saw an older man walking on the street carrying an empty water jug.  They stopped and asked him what he was doing, and he was going out in search of water.  Hurray!  He was thrilled to take them back to his home and receive the gift of clean water for himself and his neighbors, as well.

During this time Eric had been in touch with our pastor, Makio Sensei, who is also up in the area visiting all the churches in his denomination.  Makio Sensei asked them to look for a missing pastor – the whole church had literally disappeared in the tsunami and he had not been found yet.  They inquired at the closest evacuation center but he wasn’t there.  They called Pastor Makio with the bad news.  A little while later, Makio Sensei called them with the joyous news – he had been found at another community center.  There was great rejoicing.

Even so, the team (Eric, Peter and Kent) have shared that the devastation is heart-breaking.

We continue to read reports and concerns coming out of North America about nuclear radiation.  While we want to be cautious, we are not overly concerned at this point.  Our family is many hundreds of miles away, if some of you are wondering.  Eric is closer but even still not in the 50 mile zone that the US has set up as a precaution.  Perhaps the greater concern for me is the ongoing aftershocks that are rocking Sendai 4-6 times daily.  I am praying that the earth will settle, and the water as well.

Eric told me one interesting story.  They stopped at a hotel and went inside.  There was still no electricity there, so as they walked further and further into the lobby they were guided by flickers of candles lining the sides of the hallway.  The front desk had a staff there, using candlelight to do all of his work.  It reminded me of a verse that our friend Miya just sent us:  ”Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)

Praying for each of us in the places of our darkness to trust in the name of our Lord.

Sue Takamoto

 

This post was originally published on Sue's blog, The Takameter. It has been re-posted here with permission.

by Eric Takamoto

Our team made this brief video clip on March 26 (15 days after the tsunami) during our trip to Ishinomaki, Japan . . . probably the hardest hit area.

Join us in prayer for all the survivors of the tsunami.

Please don't forget.

If you don't see a video player, you can watch it on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G4TnJbQso8

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